Saving Stonybrooke



Preserving a historic house for future generations was the successful quest of one very determined lady

For a sprawling backcountry property, the Hillman homestead on Taconic Road is not exactly brimming with typical Greenwich amenities. There's a chicken coop and a sheep pen but no pool or tennis court. The downstairs stereo system is not a glitzy affair with built-in ceiling speakers, but a turntable beside a bookcase. If you want air conditioning, you have to crack open a window so the easterly breezes can flow through. But few local homes have as much going for them in terms of history. The oldest section of the house dates back to 1751, before George Washington made his name in the French and Indian War. With some middle portions dating back to the 1800s and other portions added by celebrated architect Richard Henry Dana in 1930, just walking a cup of cocoa from the kitchen to the dining room to the front parlor makes a visitor feel like a time traveler.

What makes the Hillman home, variously known as the Jeremiah Mead House or Stonybrooke, particularly special is this: In 2004 it became the first designated Local Historic Property in Greenwich.